Our oldest son struggled from day one with gross motor delays and social skill delays. Simultaneously he endured chronic stomach pain. We weren't surprised at all when he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism. I am continually surprised, however, that mainstream medicine knows the stats: 88% of children with Asperger's have intestinal distress of one type or another, yet continue to ignore significant treatment by passing the intestinal pain off as an inevitable aspect of the syndrome.
This year, in the midst of online marketing, I connected with several parents who loved Defeat Autism Now! Most of what I had heard about this organization came from the traditional doctors I relied on: that DAN! was just a group of desperate parents. I was surprised to find that DAN! is actually a compilation of parents and doctors reporting on what's working and what's not working.
After being told all our son's life that his intestinal pain was a result of his anxiety, we decided to believe the anxiety was a result of his chronic intestinal pain. We bypassed the anxiety drugs and decided instead to try the Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet. Several friends from my support group were getting good results from it. Although it wasn't a great marketing strategy to dive into a group of friends who probably wouldn't be interested in a book about chocolate (dairy and gluten) and caramel (dairy), it was a great idea to give this diet a chance. I knew it wouldn't hurt Samuel if it didn't work, and the chance that it would work was too irresistible.
Within two weeks we saw results. His chronic stomach pain went away first. He stopped wetting the bed (an every night event) within a week. His anxiety dropped from several "freakouts" a week and several irrational fears controlling him to more natural fears and being able to calm himself down when he got upset. A month later, we tried to reintroduce gluten on three separate occasions and it caused vomitting each time. I had been scared to begin the diet because I felt like it would be a lot of hassle in the middle of an already hectic life, but the hassle of the diet is so much easier than living with the symptoms of Asperger's.
After several months on the diet, our son tells me what happened at school when he gets home. He remembers friends’ names. He plays with others on the playground. His verbal skills blow us away. He has only had one trip to the principal's office this entire year and never throws a tantrum or goes into "freakout" mode. Our pediatrician had been against the diet to begin with, but recently she told me I've made a believer out of her. She said Samuel was the calmest she's ever seen him in his entire life and she has been there for him since day one.
We still have more bridges to cross. After a lifetime of intestinal distress, his immune system is still extremely low. Over the last month, he's had Strep throat, Influenza A (despite having Flu Mist), Pneumonia, and Shingles. He's missed days of school every week this month. Thank God, he currently has the best teacher in the entire world, who has been understanding and supportive all year long despite his absences. We're currently hoping to see a DAN! doctor to get a better idea of what needs to happen next to heal his body. His primary physician now thinks it is a great idea.
If you'd like to learn more about Defeat Autism Now! or the Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet, you can visit www.autismwebsite.com or check out my Listmania page on Amazon concerning Early Childhood Delays. Thanks for reading!
Three Year Update: Our son is in middle school now. He made the transition without a speedbump. Last year, he proved he's over the sensory/social problems by earning a spot in the high school play both semesters even though he was in fifth grade. He endured complicated make-up and grueling dress rehearsal weeks. That's victory! Two years ago, he became a superseller at a scholarship level for selling $2,000 worth of Cubscout popcorn. This year, he asked to go to the junior high dance. He's still GF/CF.